On the first Sunday in March not far from Churchill Downs, UCLA had the horses. . . .
It was a shame that we couldn't see Ed O'Bannon's first five points against Louisville that came during a stretch when ABC switched to its Maryland- Virginia regional telecast. . . .
Then we missed some more of the first half when a segment of the Kansas-Oklahoma State game was shown. . . .
I mean, doesn't the top-ranked team in the country deserve to have its entire game shown in its home city? . . .
As usual, O'Bannon was at his best when it counted most, taking charge after the Cardinals had closed to within four points. . . .
That is what a player of the year should do. . . .
Joe Smith, probably O'Bannon's stiffest competition for the honor, was unable to lead Maryland to a victory over Virginia that could have given the Terrapins the undisputed Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title. He scored 25, but they lost by 25. . . .
UCLA's first opponent in the NCAA Tournament might be Florida International (11-18). . . .
The most impressive accomplishment in the NBA this season is Dennis Rodman's seven-game, 20-plus rebound streak. . . .
Nothing in Southern California high school basketball is more predictable than Willie West's Crenshaw Cougars winning the City Section 4-A Division title or Gary McKnight's Santa Ana Mater Dei Monarchs winning the Southern Section Division 1-A title. . . .
The crowd dazzler at The Pond of Anaheim on Saturday was Mater Dei sophomore Schea Cotton, who had several spectacular dunks during an 83-33 victory over La Puente Nogales. . . .
Marathon runners amaze me every March on the streets of L.A. . . .
I had trouble \o7 driving \f7 26 miles Sunday. . . .
More than 10,000 are expected to compete in the 16th annual Mobil St. Patrick's Day 10K Run for the Blind and World Wheelchair Challenge on Sunday in Torrance. Proceeds will benefit Vistas for Blind Children Inc. . . .
Exhibition baseball standings are low on my list of reading priorities in the morning. . . .
Richie Ashburn, who was a terrific center fielder and leadoff man for the Philadelphia Phillies and had a career batting average of .306, deserves to be voted into the Hall of Fame by the Veterans' Committee on Tuesday. . . .
Maybe the Kings, who are 2-8-2 at home and 3-2-2 on the road, ought to wear black jerseys at the Forum. . . .
Michael Johnson, who broke his world indoor record in the 400 meters Saturday at Atlanta, figures to do pretty well outdoors in the same city in 1996. . . .
The legend of Larry The Legend continued on a rainy Saturday afternoon when he brought a little sunshine to Santa Anita. . . .
The 3-year-old colt who was bought for $2,500 by trainer Craig Lewis last October captured numerous hearts and paid $7.20 when he won the one-mile San Rafael Stakes. . . .
Jockey Kent Desormeaux was impressed. . . .
The Legend is at least the second-best sophomore Desormeaux, who also has the call on Afternoon Deelites, has ridden this year. . . .
Favored Timber Country, who finished two lengths behind in third, again demonstrated that the Kentucky Derby distance of 1 1/4 miles should be to his liking. . . .
"The encouraging thing was that he was just hitting his stride at the wire," trainer Wayne Lukas said after Timber Country's first outing since winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last Nov. 5. . . .
Tommy Morrison, who knocked out 7-foot Marselles Brown in the third round Saturday in Muskogee, Okla., might be a Mike Tyson opponent this summer.
Will o' the wisp: Pernell Whitaker threw 239 fewer punches than Julio Cesar Vasquez, but landed 77 more. . . .
Alfred Ankamah, the unbeaten welterweight who headlines the card tonight at the Forum, will have a nurse, who is his manager, and a doctor, who is his cut man, in his corner. . . .
Former heavyweight champions Lennox Lewis and Michael Moorer will resume their careers on a Don Chargin-promoted, HBO card May 13 at Sacramento. It will be Lewis vs. Lionel Butler and Moorer vs. Tim Puller. . . .
Yory Boy Campas, who was a hit on promoter Peter Broady's first card at the Grand Olympic last month, returns March 23 against Young Dick Tiger. . . .
Plenty of good seats will be available for the World Boxing Assn. heavyweight title fight between Tony Tucker and Bruce Seldon. . . .
Roller derby is back! So exclaims the fax from San Bernardino, where games are scheduled for the Orange Pavilion on March 18, 25 and 31. . . .
The only thing worse than a Rotisserie League is a Replacement Players' Rotisserie League.